Allan “Chunk” Jacobsen today spoke of his delight at returning to his rugby roots tomorrow for a charity testimonial match.
The 34-year-old prop forward, who retired from pro rugby at the end of last season with 65 Scotland caps, will be the centre of attention when turning out for his original club Preston Lodge against the Pigbarians Select at Pennypit Park.
The fixture is in aid of Dreamz4u, which raises funds to fulfil the wishes of terminally ill children. Jacobsen said: “One of the things that will make tomorrow’s occasion special is the fact that Dreamz4u was founded by Jimmy Michie.
“When I played my first ever match for Preston Lodge as a teenager in the mid-1990s, away to Peebles, it was alongside Jimmy.”
It is expected to be an emotional occasion as well as one of release for Jacobsen.
“One of the things I am most looking forward to is just getting out on a rugby pitch again after working hard to set up my own business since retiring from Edinburgh Rugby,” he said.
“What I really enjoyed about rugby in my Preston Lodge days was the chance to work up a bit of a sweat as a break from the work routine. Being able to forget about work with a blast of exercise for a few hours was always very enjoyable.
“Of course that all changed when I became a pro but tomorrow it will be a thrill to be back in the changing room I occupied as a youngster then run out on to a pitch I knew well in the PL jersey.”
A string of ex-internationalists have agreed to turn out but, if there is one disappointment for Jacobsen, it is the fact that recent colleagues have had to be ruled out.
“It would have been good if some of the lads I played with for Edinburgh and Scotland could have played but I quite understand that the risk of injury is too much for that to happen,” he said.
“Nevertheless, I hope as many as possible will manage along and help make the occasion even better. It is a great honour to be given a game like this by Preston Lodge and one I don’t take for granted.”
Preston Lodge president Shona Brash said: “We are deeply honoured to be recognising the achievement of someone who has been a landmark in our club’s story and who, as a young man, took an opportunity to make a name for himself that is now known throughout world rugby.”
Since Jacobsen started out as a teenager, the club have slipped back and next season find themselves in the East First Division – three rungs below the Premiership they once graced. But Mrs Brash is convinced that, allied to the new facilities, tomorrow’s match, which will be attended by recent SRU presidents Ian McLauchlan and Alan Lawson, can mark a turning point in fortunes.
“Since April this year we have been operating out of Prestongrange Bowling Club and the arrangement is working well,” she said, “but it was always our intention to put down long-term roots again and I cannot put into words how important it is to have our own home and be responsible for our own destiny.
“Everything is in place to support a strong 1st and 2nd XV as well as under-18s, under-16s and our PL Pirates mini section.”
For tomorrow’s clash, the Pigbarians have extended invites to a number of players who started out alongside “Chunk”, including ex-caps Stuart Moffat, Tom Philip, Derrick Lee, Craig Joiner, Graeme Burns, Jon Petrie and Barry Stewart. Former Edinburgh players Conan Sharman, Geoff Caldwell, David Officer and David Blair are also included in a squad to be coached by Bruce Aitchison along with Ian Rankin, the new SRU vice-president who signed Jacobsen for Edinburgh.
• BOROUGHMUIR captain Andy Rose will turn out for Zimbabwe against Kenya in the African Championship final in Madagascar tomorrow.
Both nations are now through to a final qualifying pool next year, alongside Namibia, for the 2015 World Cup, with one to eventually go through automatically to the finals in England where a group spot alongside New Zealand awaits.